Adolf Hitler, the Third Reich and World War II — what the Germans regard as the "dark matter" historically — have been an enduring source of global fascination. Traditionally, this fascination has manifested itself most prominently in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Germany proved the exception. Although there have always been individuals and groups enamored with Hitler and the Third Reich, broader sections of German society — after initially disowning that past, to the point of making it a taboo — felt great embarrassment about it all.

There has, of course, been widespread public interest in sensational aspects of the Nazi era, such as the forged Hitler diaries in the 1980s. However, Hitler's diaries were — or rather would have been — a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.